In response to the decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to order Sydney train drivers to suspend their planned 24-hour strike on January 29, ACTU secretary Sally McManus declared: "The right to strike in Australia is close to being dead."
If national unity and harmony are the goals for Australia’s national day, then January 26 is no longer, if it ever was, fit for purpose. It does not meet its objective and, no matter how much it “disappoints” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, we need to re-think Australia Day.
The Prime Minister’s January 29 announcement that Australia is destined to become a bigger arms dealer has provoked widespread dissent from aid organisations and anti-war networks.
The Defence Export Strategy aims to lift Australia to become one of the top 10 defence industry exporting countries within a decade. Save the Children, World Vision, the Australian Council for International Development and the Greens have all condemned the move to export death and profit from bloodshed.
Homemade signs and pink pussy hats abounded on January 21 as thousands of women rallied in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne as part of the international Women’s Marches.
As hundreds of thousands marched across Europe and the US, 1500 people — many of them young women — gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park to form a human chain in a symbol of global solidarity. In Melbourne, protesters marched from Alexandra Gardens and formed a human chain along the banks of the Yarra.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has seized on International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts predicting a rise in global economic growth following the US administration’s corporate tax cuts, to call for similar cuts here.
Describing the proposed cut as an “enterprise tax program”, Turnbull said on January 22 that the measure would “result in more investment and more jobs” — despite significant evidence that “trickle down” economics does not work.
Treasurer Scott Morrison has demanded that Labor supports its proposal to cut the tax rate for big business from 30% to 25%.
Green Left Radio on 3CR spoke to Anas Alwakil, a Sudanese community activist and Nawal Ali, a social worker and advocate for women, on January 19 about the federal government’s fear-mongering and the so-called Sudanese gang crime wave that has hit Victoria.
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Australia’s 33 billionaires increased their wealth by more than $38 billion dollars last year — or more than $1 billion each. That is more than $3 million each a day!
At the other end of the spectrum, Credit Suisse data cited in the Sydney Morning Herald showed the wealth of the bottom half of Australians declined in the same period alongside stagnating wage growth.
A new report from Oxfam, released on the eve of the World Economic Forum, revealed that Australia’s richest 1% owned 23% of the country’s total wealth last year, up from 22% the year before, and more than the bottom 70% combined.
Based on data from Credit Suisse, the report also revealed that Australia now has 33 billionaires, up by 8 in the past year alone.
The Oxfam report shows that inequality is worsening.
The Australian billionaire Dick Smith has been on the stump again warning of the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots.
“If we're not careful, if you end up with really wealthy people and lots of poor people, in the end the poor people will rebel,” he said late last year.
“You look at what happened in Russia in 1917 where they ended up with the tsar and the tsar's friends who are all equivalent billionaires.
“The pitchforks came out and we had revolution.”
When federal parliament reconvenes on February 5, the Coalition government’s first priority will be to pass two punitive bills which, if made into law, will make life even harder for those trying to get by on income support.